Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my child is stuttering?

Almost all young children become disfluent about the time they start speaking in phrases or sentences but the type of disfluencies they vary:

Typical non-fluencies of young children:  Hesitations, interjections of words, revisions of phrases or sentences, repetitions of phrases, or word repetitions without tension.

Stuttering: Word repetitions with tension, part word repetitions, prolongation of sounds, or complete stoppage of air (blocks). You may see tremors of the lips, chin or jaw. Some children stop speaking altogether.

See also: Stuttering and Your Child: Help for Parents (Stuttering Foundation of America)

Back to Index

What is the risk that my young child will persist in stuttering?

A number of important studies have found the following factors to be helpful in determining which children may be at higher risk of stuttering.
(Yairi, E. & Ambrose, N. 1992, Ambrose, N. & Yairi, E. 1999 and Yairi, E. & Ambrose, N. 1999).

Gender: Male
Genetics: Family history of stuttering and persistence
Onset of symptoms: After 3 ½ years of age
Persistence: Symptoms persist for 6 to 12 months or longer
Other factors: Speech sound errors, other persistent speech and language disorders

Back to Index

How can I help my child be more fluent?

First, and most importantly, do not correct your child’s speech. While comments like, “Slow down and think before you talk” seem helpful, they are not. It is far more beneficial to model a slow, relaxed manner of speaking with pauses between the sections of longer sentences. 

                “Taylor (pause) would you like a hamburger (pause) or pizza?” 

Pausing before you answer a question is another good practice.   Children can be more fluent when they allow themselves time to formulate a response before answering a question. When parents and teachers model this practice, children learn they do not have to rush when answering questions.

Rather than bombarding your child with questions, allow him or her time to tell you what they want to say. Rather than being an interrogator, become an active listener. Make encouraging comments to encourage your child to keep talking: Really, No kidding? Wow, that’s interesting.

Back to Index

What should teens and adults know about stuttering?

You are not alone. Millions of people have stuttered and gone on to have successful careers and social lives. While stuttering is certainly irritating, it’s not the end of the world. You might enjoy watching one famous person talk about his experience with stuttering

Also see Straight Talk for Teens at

Back to Index

Where can I get more information on stuttering?

The Stuttering Foundation of America has accurate, reliable information about stuttering and stuttering research.
Free and inexpensive brochures, books and videos for parents, teachers, teens and physicians are available.

American Speech Language Hearing Association

Back to Index

Where can I get information on support groups for children and adults?

National Stuttering Association

Friends: National Association for Young People Who Stutter

Houston Adult Support Group – NSA Houston Chapter

Back to Index